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Strawberry Vinegar

Dead easy and an ideal way to use up overripe fruit. The vinegar is mellow with a distinctly fruity taste and can be added to salad dressings, marinades and sauces. It also makes a nice gift. This recipe is adapted from "Preserving" by Oded Schwartz.

Yields approximately 2 litres of vinegar.

5 cups (1.25 litres) cider vinegar or white wine vinegar (not regular white vinegar as it is too strong)

1kg. (2 lb.) ripe, full-flavoured strawberries

1. In a non-reactive saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil and boil rapidly for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to 104 F (40 C) (warm to the touch).

2. Hull the strawberries and finely chop. Place them in a large glass bowl or ceramic crock. Alternatively, finely chop them in a food processor.

3. Pour the warm vinegar over the chopped berries and mix well. Cover with a clean cloth and let stand in a warm place (a sunny window sill is ideal) for two weeks, stirring every few days.

4. Strain the vinegar through cheesecloth or a coffee filter supported by a funnel . Pour into sterilized bottles, then seal. Store in a cool, dark, place or refrigerate.

Note: The flavour of this vinegar improves with age but the pretty pink colour will fade to brown. If the vinegar is cloudy leave it to sit until the sediment settles at the bottom. The clear vinegar can then be siphoned off.

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